YOUR STORY: Sergeant William Wade
My Great Uncle, William Wade was born in South Canterbury, New Zealand and he enlisted at Liverpool in Sydney on 10th February 1915.
Uncle Willie was on the Southland (official war painting held by the Australian War Memorial attached) on his way to Gallipoli when it was torpedoed off the island of Lemnos. He was one of the last troops to leave Gallipoli and was then sent to the Western Front where he fought in France and Belgium.
He was awarded the Military Medal and later the Distinguished Conduct Medal. I have attached the commendations for both of these awards.
Uncle Willie was wounded and died on 23rd October 1917 in the vicinity of the Albert Redoubt in Belgium. He is buried in the Menin Road Cemetery in Ypres and his name is recorded on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War memorial.
He was quite a prolific letter writer and I have many letters which he wrote to his sister Nellie, my grandmother. Willie was a telegraph operator working on ships sailing out of Sydney and Melbourne for the Pacific Islands at the outbreak of the First World War. His letter written from the SS Levuka explains his decision to enlist. However, this letter contains a number of comments that would be considered politically incorrect these days.
Willie had two brothers, Joe and Ned who also served in the First Word War, both in the New Zealand Armed Forces. I have attached a letter to his brother Joe who, at the time of writing was in a field hospital with wounds to both his legs. After this letter was written one of Joe's legs was amputated. Ned was gassed and both brothers were evacuated to hospitals in England. Ned was eventually returned to the Front as a cook. Both survived the war and later returned to New Zealand.
If you have any queries regarding this information, please do not hesitate to contact me either by email or on the mobile number below.